The Rev. Dr. R. Drew Smith earned his undergraduate degree from Indiana University, and earned his Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, and Ph.D. from Yale University. Both a political scientist and a clergyman, he has initiated and directed a number of projects related to religion and public life which have collected research data on political involvements, community development activities, and outreach ministries of churches, especially African-American churches. He has also conducted similar research in South Africa, including while serving in 2005 as a Fulbright professor at the University of Pretoria. His overseas involvements also include serving in 2009 as a Fulbright senior specialist at Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Cameroon, and lecturing in many international venues including as part of the U.S. State Department’s Speakers Bureau. He has served since 2010 as co-convener of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race, an initiative that convenes scholars, religious leaders, and community activists from across the transatlantic region for purposes of advancing progressive approaches to persistent racial problems in various contexts. In addition, as a Baptist clergyman, he has ministered in a number of parish, prison, and campus ministry contexts.
Before coming to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where he serves as professor of urban ministry and as chair of the Metro-Urban Institute Council, he was scholar-in-residence and director of Religion and Public Life Projects at the Leadership Center at Morehouse College. He has also served as director of the Center for Church and the Black Experience at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
He has published widely on religion and public life, having written numerous articles and chapters, and edited or co-edited seven books: New Day Begun: African American Churches and Civic Culture in Post-Civil Rights America (2003); Long March Ahead: African American Churches and Public Policy in Post-Civil Rights America (2004); Black Churches and Local Politics (2005); Freedom’s Distant Shores: American Protestants and Post-Colonial Alliances with Africa (2006); From Every Mountainside: Black Churches and the Broad Terrain of Civil Rights (2013); Churches, Blackness, and Contested Multiculturalism: Europe, Africa, and North America (2014), and Contesting Post-Racialism: Conflicted Churches in the U.S. and South Africa (2015). He is currently writing a book on contemporary black clergy activism under contract with Columbia University Press. He has received many honors and awards for his academic leadership, including selection in 2002 as an Emerging Leaders Fellow by a Duke University/University of Cape Town program on Leadership and Public Values, and selection in 2008 for an Indiana Governor’s Black Expo Leadership award. He is married, with one teenage daughter.
It’s hard to keep up with the highly accomplished, internationally active Rev. Dr. R. Drew Smith, Pittsburgh Seminary’s professor of urban ministry. His ongoing appointments also include as research fellow in the Department of Philosophy and Systematic Theology at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, and as scholar-in-residence at the Leadership Center at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
With multiple graduate degrees from Yale (including a doctorate in political science), Drew has received many honors and awards for his academic leadership, including selection in 2002 as an Emerging Leaders Fellow by a Duke University/University of Cape Town program on Leadership and Public Values, and selection in 2008 for an Indiana Governor’s Black Expo Leadership award. A diverse array of leadership activities has earned him such distinctions.
Both a social scientist and clergyman, Drew has initiated and directed multiple projects related to religion and public life, including the Public Influences of African-American Churches Project and the Faith Communities and Urban Families Project. In addition to gathering research data, the Projects have convened seminars, conferences, and roundtables that have brought clergy, policy makers, and community leaders together to discuss matters pertaining to the Church’s public mission and ministry. As a Baptist clergyman, he has ministered in a number of parish, prison, and campus ministry contexts.
Drew has also been actively involved in international community development and youth leadership development, initially as an executive staff person at Operation Crossroads Africa during the 1980s. He served in 2005 as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and in 2009 as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Cameroon. At Pittsburgh Seminary, he collaborates with Metro-Urban Institute director Kimberly Gonxhe on programs and activities relevant to global ministry in local and urban contexts.
And as though all that weren’t enough, Drew continues to lecture in many international venues, including in Israel as part of the U.S. State Department’s Speakers Bureau. Internationally he has co-convened conferences and presented papers with titles such as “Expanded Poverty, Church Ministry Distance, and Public Policy Evasions in the U.S.” (for The Church’s Community Role in Times of Austerity, University of London), and “Contemporary Responsiveness to Black Enslavement Past and Present: 150 Years After the Emancipation Proclamation” (for Black Churches and 21st Century Captivities, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Accra).
Drew’s other professional activities include conducting of dozens of urban ministry interviews on urban ministry innovators across the U.S. as part of a research grant from the Louisville Institute. Whew!
Contesting Post Racialism: Conflicted Churches in the United States and South Africa (co-editor; University Press of Mississippi, 2015)
Churches, Blackness, and Contested Multiculturalism: Europe, North America, and Africa (co-editor; Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)
From Every Mountainside: Black Churches and Civil Rights Beyond the Southern Movement (editor; SUNY, 2013)
Freedom’s Distant Shores: American Protestants and Post-Colonial Alliances with Africa (editor; Baylor University Press, 2006)
Black Churches and Local Politics: Clergy Influence, Organizational Partnerships, and Civic Empowerment (co-editor; Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)
Long March Ahead: African American Churches and Public Policy in Post-Civil Rights America (editor; Duke, 2004)
New Day Begun: African American Churches and Civic Culture in Post-Civil Rights America (editor; Duke, 2003)